Music Makers of the Future

Improving youth voice and youth-led approaches across Music Education Hubs (MEHs) in the West Midlands to increase engagement with young people.

Electric guitar


Music Makers of the Future background

The Music Makers of the Future (MMF) project was led by West Midlands Music (WMM), encompassing 14 MEHs in the West Midlands. The project was funded through Music Mark’s Innovation Fund, which aims to help MEHs ‘stabilise and grow following the Covid-19 pandemic’ (Music Mark, online). MMF ran from January-September 2022.

As part of WMM’s ongoing commitment to increasing engagement with young people and developing youth-led work, the project involved:

  • Mapping out current youth voice approaches and perspectives on youth voice across WMM.
  • Identifying barriers and enablers to music education workforce development.
  • Testing a range of youth voice and youth-led approaches within new and existing strands of work.
  • Consulting with groups of young people currently engaged or not engaged with WMM on the role music plays in their lives.
  • Producing case studies of a range of professional roles within WMM to inform and inspire future generations of music education professionals.

As WMM’s first joint project, it is hoped that the learning from MMF will inform all 14 MEHs’ strategic planning and musical provision.

Research aims

The BCU research team were commissioned to consult with MEH leads and senior staff on youth voice and workforce development, evaluate two of the youth-led approaches which were developed within the project, consult with young people, and elucidate WMM music educators’ career paths.

Research questions

  • What does youth voice look like or what could it look like in WMM from the perspectives of MEHs, music leaders and young people?
  • What are the barriers and enablers to youth voice and workforce development in WMM?
  • What impact does music-making have on young people’s lives, future aspirations and wellbeing?
  • What can we learn from Music Makers of the Future and share across WMM and with other music organisations?

Research methods

Through participation in this research, Music Education Hubs, young people and music teachers/leaders had the opportunity to share and reflect on youth voice, the tested youth-led approaches, and their relationship to music and career pathways.

Data were collected through the use of semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews, Q-sort, creative approaches and observations. 


Music Makers of the Future: West Midlands Music Research Report 2022